My colleagues and I were always struggling to find ways to help our students understand the constructive nature of language--since most saw language as little more than the vehicle to convey meaning. We all had our different methods and content to get at this point. Not surprisingly, I used a baseball analogy to get at this concept.
The basic idea is that there three umpires who are discussing how they call balls and strikes.
Simply replace "balls/strikes" with "safe/out" and last night, while heartbreaking for us Tiger fans, make this point painfully clear. Were I still in the classroom, I might actually have an excuse to show a Tigers game in the classroom under the title of a "teachable moment."The first umpire replies: “Some are balls and some are strikes, and I call them as they are.”
The second umpire replies: “Some are balls and some are strikes, and I call them as I see 'em.”The third umpire replies: “Some are balls and some are strikes, but they ain’t nothin' ‘til I call 'em.”